Your 10 minute marketing plan

February 2, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

view from horseback of a dusty trail following other riders

Recently a friend mentioned that she relied only on word-of-mouth to promote her business, and maybe she needed to try something more. I offered to give her some ideas. After I finished writing, I thought this might be useful for other people, too.

This is kind of a paper napkin marketing plan—that cliche of business. It’s the basics, quick and dirty. There is lots of information available, and you can ask me, too.

I view marketing as common sense, but from the point of view of the people you are trying to attract. When we get outside our own assumptions, jargon, embarrassment about talking about what we love to do, or however we cut ourselves off from communicating with potential clients or people who might know potential clients, there is lots of room to experiment and explore appealing ways to reach out to and attract people to learn about what we do. Read more

7 reasons to survey your clients

September 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

from the horse's mouth

How recently have you asked your clients, “How are we doing?”

Every business needs clients or customers to survive, thrive, and continue into the years ahead. We usually know some of the reasons why people hire us, but we often don’t learn why they stop working with us, how we could provide better service, or become indispensable to them. And who wouldn’t love to know these things?

I’ve been in numerous meetings where people talk about why this client loves them or that client doesn’t love them. It always strikes me that we don’t really know unless we ask. Directly. And in the Seattle area where many of us tend towards ‘conflict averse,’ we often don’t hear about issues until things are already going downhill, or worse. Read more

The other 90 percent

June 5, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

frightened horse showing the whites of his eyes

Less than 10% of communication is verbal according to Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages. While we do have to get the words right, we have to get the rest of it right if we want to communicate in ways that build trust and credibility — essential qualities in healthy relationships and effective relationship marketing.

Besides words, our tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, and posture all broadcast what we feel, even if we are not speaking about it directly. We continually send, receive, and respond to non-verbal messages. Children and animals are masters at reading these messages. All of us have had times when we notice someone saying one thing while using contradictory body language. It is usually not very pleasant. Read more

What are you willing to do to get more business?

April 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

horse pulling a wagon with straw blinders on and a yellow daisy

And what kind of business do you want to get?

I needed a new auto mechanic because my Subaru shop doesn’t work on Hondas. As a woman with limited knowledge of cars, I felt vulnerable having to leave my trusted shop and find a new one. I asked my friend with a Honda, and got an enthusiastic recommendation. I got an equally good referral from my Subaru guys — for the same place! Two strong referrals were enough for me.

While waiting for an oil change at my new mechanic’s, I witnessed another approach to getting business — or not. Read more

The metaphysics of marketing

April 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Rope, blanket, flaxen mane against a sorrel horse's shoulder

This principle is how marketing works. I’ve observed it over and over again, but never more starkly than in the following story.

My client, a small engineering firm, wanted to do more work with architecture firms, and we had just developed and printed a new brochure designed to appeal to architects. (This was before the predominance of electronic media.)

After the brochures had been mailed, the principal and his two project managers decided to cold call a number of the architects they had mailed to. We wrote call scripts and role played making phone calls. They plugged away at their call lists, but the results were not exactly encouraging.

Then an interesting thing happened. Read more